A Breakdown of How UFC Fighters Get Paid

Conor McGregor may make millions for every fight, but the average UFC fighter doesn’t. When it comes to pay, UFC fighters have a different experience than other athletes. So, how much do UFC fighters get paid? Here’s a breakdown of the many ways male and female UFC fighters make money.

How much does an average UFC fighter make?

Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman after the UFC Welterweight championship match at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Nevada
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman | Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Every fighter has a base salary they receive for making weight and fighting. As The MMA Guru explains, the base amount depends on several factors. Each UFC fighter is considered an independent contractor, and they’re free to negotiate with the UFC on the base pay. Usually, the more popular the fighter, the higher it is.

According to Tapology, Nate Diaz got a $20,000 base salary in his fight against Michael Johnson. However, after Diaz choked out McGregor and became a superstar, he renegotiated his salary. In his last fight, he got $250,000 to show up and fight Anthony Pettis.

Base pay also includes a win bonus, which usually only applies to fighters who don’t have a high base pay. For example, in the Johnson fight, Nate Diaz had a $20,000 win bonus, so his actual base salary was $40,000. In the Pettis fight, though, Diaz didn’t have a win bonus in his contract, so he just got $250,000 for fighting.

How much do sponsorships and endorsements bring to the table?

In 2015, the UFC signed an exclusive sponsorship deal with Reebok. According to Bleacher Report, this made Reebok the exclusive sponsor for UFC fighters during fight night. Fight night is the most lucrative time for sponsors since that’s when everyone’s watching. As a result, many UFC fighters have no sponsors other than Reebok. 

To make up for that, Reebok pays the UFC, which in turn pays each fighter an amount based on how many fights they’ve had in the UFC. This Reebok sponsorship pay is minuscule, and it can range from $3,500 per fight to $40,000, according to The MMA Guru.

Endorsements are lucrative for UFC fighters, but they’re mostly reserved for the most popular fighters. And, of course, the more popular the fighter, the more endorsement money they’ll make. However, it’s impossible to know what the average endorsement deal pays because of this. 

How much are UFC bonuses, fines, and PPV points?

Not to be confused with win bonuses, performance bonuses are awarded after a fight card ends. Usually, there’s one “fight of the night” bonus and two “performance of the night” bonuses per event. Four people get awarded a bonus, and each bonus pays $50,000. Sometimes, one person will get two bonuses and receive an extra $100,000

According to Frenemies on Maori Television, there are backroom bonuses, which is money the UFC pays the fighters behind closed doors. Because of this, it’s unknown what that number looks like and likely varies from fighter to fighter. Fines are technically another way to make money in the UFC. According to MMA Junkie, if your opponent misses weight, then they’ll be fined a portion of their salary. When that happens, this fine will usually go to the other fighter.

Finally, pay-per-view, or PPV points, are another way a UFC fighter can make millions. Like endorsement deals, very few people will get PPV points. When a fighter gets PPV points, it just means a small percentage of the money that audiences pay for a UFC pay-per-view fight will go to the fighter. PPV points are usually reserved for champions and popular fighters. 

How much does Conor McGregor gets paid?

When he lost to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor had a base salary of $3,000,000 and $40,000 from the Reebok sponsorship. However, his PPV points allowed him to make almost $50,000,000 from the fight. 

The MMA Guru estimates that Conor McGregor gets about $25,000,000 a year from his deals in terms of endorsements. However, he and other well-paid fighters like Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt are the exceptions. Most UFC fighters will not make millions of dollars per year.

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